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In fragment 38 Diels-Kranz, Empedocles turns to describe the creation of 'everything that we now see':
[GREEK TEXT OMITTED]
Here, as so often with Empedocles, the influence of Zeller and Diels has proved decisive in determining later interpretations of the text. They understood the words [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] as meaning 'and Titan aither'; the text has been mistranslated ever since.(1) In fact the conjunction [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] is never postponed.(2) This means that - as scholars earlier in the nineteenth century well understood - 'Titan' must be an item on its own, distinct from the aither:
earth and wavy sea and moist aer, Titan and aither binding everything in its circular grip.(3)
There is no reason to doubt that Empedocles intended 'Titan' here as a reference to the fiery sun.(4) The strangeness of being left with a seeming reference in these lines to five elements - earth, water, aer, fire, aither - when Empedocles taught a doctrine of no more or less than four is certainly remarkable, but not so remarkable as to justify misconstruing the Greek. As a matter of fact, much the same peculiarity of five apparent elements being listed instead of four also occurs in pseudo-Plutarch's account of Empedocles' cosmology.(5) I have shown elsewhere(6) what this double anomaly - both in pseudo-Plutarch and in Empedocles himself - has to tell us not just about how he used his element theory to explain the world around us, but also about the specific terminology he employed.
Empedocles' fragment 78 has caused continual trouble since the start of the nineteenth century. This is not surprising, considering the form in which it is usually presented: [GREEK TEXT OMITTED]. The basic idea - of trees 'with abundance of fruits all year round' - is clear, but the problem lies in the words [GREEK TEXT OMITTED]. Here it seems necessary to go over ground already more or less covered by Gunther Zuntz in 1971, because editors of Empedocles over the past twenty years have unanimously ignored his findings.(7) Zuntz justifiably rejected these words as a corruption of the text by taking them in their obvious sense - 'in the air',' throughout the air' - and pointing out that 'Empedokles' trees did not grow "in the air"'(8) Numerous times the attempt has been made to explain …